Occupying a majestic setting in the southern foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama, the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial was commissioned by Felipe II as a mausoleum for the tomb of his father, Carlos I. The name commemorates the victory over the French at St Quentin on the Feast of St Lawrence in 1557. Building began in 1563 and the king took a keen interest in the smallest details. The complex was completed in 1595 and comprised a basilica, a royal palace, a monastery, a seminary ...

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